Warm Solutions for a Chilly Day

Here in the Pacific Northwest we rarely have the threat of snow.  For the past few days now, the local and national weather services have been throwing numbers at us that are highly unusual and well, hard to believe.  Granted, being on the coast, predicting weather can be tricky and with that cold air dropping down from the North combined with our naturally wet climate, anything is possible.

It has been bone chilling cold and with the drop in temperatures comes the need for deeper, richer foods.  I am pulling a few of my favorites and will have the kitchen smelling like heaven this week and in to the weekend.  I am thinking I need to give this affair with these comfort foods one last fling before spring comes running in.

We will begin with a hearty, incredibly delicious breakfast to push the cobwebs of sleep right out of our heads.  CountryLiving.com has a moist and tender pancake recipe to begin any day.

Sour-Cream Pancakes with Maple-Pecan Butter

Ingredients ~ Pancakes

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted; plus more for skillet
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Pure maple syrup, for serving


  1. Preheat oven 175 degree F.  Place sheet pan in oven.  In large bowl, whisk your dry ingredients together.  Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, milk, melted butter and eggs.  Add your wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just combine.  Batter should have small to medium size lumps, do not over whisk.
  3. In large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter to coat pan.  Working in batches, pour about 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto skillet, spacing each about 2 inches apart.  When bubbles appear around edges and bottoms are golden brown, flip pancake and cook until other sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes total.  Transfer to sheet pan in oven and cover loosely with foil to keep warm while cooking remaining pancakes.

Maple Pecan Butter


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 ounces pecans, finely chopped (1/3 cup)


  1. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium high, beat all ingredients until combined.  Divide mixture in half and spoon onto two 15- by 12-inch pieces of parchment paper.  Roll butter, in parchment, into 1 1/2-inch-thick-logs.  Twist ends of parchment to seal.  Refrigerate until ready to use or up to 2 weeks.

The midday meal is next with a creation from FoodNetwork.com.  I love having a meal that can be used for lunch or dinner and that can be prepared ahead of time if need be, especially when you spend the day outdoors building snow forts and making angels.

French Dip Sandwich with Onion Spread

Ingredients for the Onion Spread

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches scallions, chopped (white and greens separated)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

For the Sandwiches

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3-to-4 pound beef eye round roast
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 6 6-inch Italian rolls, split and lightly toasted


  1. Make the onion spread: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt; cover and cook, stirring, until golden, about 35 minutes. Add the shallots and scallion whites; cover and cook, stirring, until browned, about 25 more minutes. Stir in the scallion greens, then remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. Chop the onion mixture and transfer to a bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Make the beef for the sandwiches: Mince the garlic, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and mash into a paste with the flat side of a large knife. Transfer to a bowl; add the olive oil, celery salt, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cut small slits all over the beef with a knife, then use your fingers to push the garlic paste into the slits. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bring the beef to room temperature. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place on a rack in a roasting pan; add 1 cup broth, 3/4 cup water, the celery, onion and parsley to the pan. Roast 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and roast until a thermometer inserted into the center of the beef registers 115 degrees F, about 45 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest 20 minutes. Strain the pan juices; reserve.
  5. Meanwhile, make the jus: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in the reserved pan juices and the remaining 3 cups broth and bring to a boil, whisking. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sherry.
  6. Brush the rolls with some of the onion spread. Thinly slice the beef against the grain. Dunk the slices in the jus, then layer on the rolls. Serve the remaining jus in small bowls for dipping.


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